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Billionaire-Turned-Politician in Process of Selecting Political Allies
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Oct.'11 / 16:01

Billionaire philanthropist, Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose announcement about planning a political party stirred up Georgian politics especially after the summer lull, is selecting his future political teammates – the process so far surrounded by speculations and secrecy.

The only person so far who publicly said that had been offered to join the planned party is Gia Khukhashvili, a government critic and a commentator on economic affairs. He said on October 10, that he had met with Ivanishvili, but declined his offer to join his party on the grounds that he is not in general willing to go into politics.

He said that Ivanishvili’s image was surrounded by stereotypes and “the society will be surprised” after the famously publicity-shy tycoon appears before the cameras for his first ever televised interview.

“The society will be surprised, because lots of myths are surrounding his personality and there is a perception that it will be hard for him to communicate with the public; believe me that’s a wrong perception and it was a surprise for me too,” Khukhashvili said.

Ivanishvili’s spokesman said last week that a billionaire-turned-politician was ready to sit down for an interview with a large group of journalists at the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). GPB said it was ready to provide an airtime in any of the three political talk-shows on its First Channels. The format of none of those three talk-shows, however, envisages hosting of large group of journalists. Ivanishvili’s spokesman, Irakli Tripolski, met with GPB general director, Gia Chanturia, on October 10 to discuss details of a potential televised interview. Ivanishvili has yet to give its response on GPB’s proposal.

Meanwhile, Kavkasia and Maestro – two Tbilisi based television stations, which were slammed by Ivanishvili in his October 7 written statement for being “pseudo-opposition” – offered Ivanishvili an airtime for an interview with large group of journalists, which would be broadcast simultaneously on the both television stations, plus on Maestro’s FM radio station.

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